CORRECTED - Hillsborough County Delays Start of School Sports, May Push Back Academic Year

Jim Kelly

CORRECTED - Hillsborough County Delays Start of School Sports, May Push Back Academic Year

TAMPA, Fla. — Public school sports are delayed in Hillsborough County. Superintendent Addison Davis announced Tuesday he is pushing back the athletics start date by two weeks until Aug. 10.

And, the academic year could be delayed, too.

While the Florida High School Athletics Association voted Monday to let sports teams begin the season as scheduled, Davis said he was committed to keeping kids safe amid the pandemic.


At this time, student-athletes will keep conditioning on school campuses, although there will be heightened safety efforts. Those include capping the number of people in groups to 40 at one time, encouraging social distancing, and prohibiting the use of locker rooms, community water jugs and towels.

“I recognize how crucial athletics and extracurricular activities are to not only student- athletes, but the school communities overall. While resuming these activities is an important step toward normalcy on our campuses, our district will do so in a guarded manner as we navigate the continuing impact this pandemic has on our local community. This extra time will also allow school administrators to work with athletic directors to build a timeline that allows for a start date of August 10th,” Davis wrote in a statement.

Delaying sports makes the county teams ineligible for the state playoffs this year.

The superintendent has also recommended delaying the start of the academic year until Aug. 24 instead of Aug. 10. The school board is expected to vote on that delay during a special meeting on Thursday.

"Our district will continue to monitor FHSAA recommendations along with CDC guidelines to implement a reopening plan along with a safe return of athletics in our schools," the district wrote in a statement.

Correction: An earlier version of this story indicated sports teams would be ineligible for state playoffs if they delayed their seasons. While that may be the case, it's not official yet.